Saturday, April 14, 2007

ED Leader Newsletter #7

Dear ED Leader Subscriber:
Welcome to the 7th issue of the ED Leader Newsletter. This week's articles include:

Value Creation: Economic Development Leaders' New Job (Do you agree?)

Book Review: Leadership Lessons from West Point, (Editor Major Doug Crandall)

Nine Dilemmas Leaders Face

Teams and Groups: The Main Differences

Tips for Succeeding through Failure

Economic Developers Should Think about Meaningful Work (What are your thoughts?)

Book Review: To Build The Life You Want, Create The Work You Love, by Marsha Sinetar

Enjoy reading the newsletter and let me know what you think. Don's email.

Please drop by the ED Leader Blog:

Best wishes,

Don Iannone
Publisher, ED Leader Journal

Book Review: To Build The Life You Want, Create The Work You Love, by Marsha Sinetar

Some time ago, I read Marsha Sinetar's To Build The Life You Want, Create The Work You Love. The book was a big help to me. I commend it to you, if you are interested in making your work more personally meaningful.

Sinetar talks about "right livelihood" or "vocation" in this wonderful book. These terms represent holistic definitions of work, from both East and West, respectively. The book is for all who want to create their best vocational options and who may not know how to make the transition into work they prefer. It's also for a growing number of displaced workers and retirees who wish to use security to make their mark and contribution in the world.

Our world is swiftly altering its geopolitical and economic boundaries. Everything seems in flux. Social values -- how we work and live -- fluctuate along with the value of the yen, the dollar, and the deutsche mark. Our notions of what it means to love, to marry, to be a parent, an employee, and to grow old are being debated and reexamined. Superfluidity now affects each of our lives. This is a book that can help you remain centered about your work during times of great change and turmoil.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Economic Developers Should Think about Meaningful Work

As an economic development leader, is your work meaningful to you and others? What makes work in the economic development field meaningful?
What does meaningful work mean to you?
Are the jobs we help create in communities meaningful ones to citizens.
If someone asked you to define how and why the jobs we create are meaningful, how would you respond to this question?
Meaningful work is not a luxury. Rather, it is a necessity!
Here are a few thoughts to jumpstart your thinking about these questions.
A job is way to make money. A calling is a way of life. A calling consists of meaningful work that reflects who we are and not just what we do.
Before we as economic developers go out into the world to do our work, we need to turn inward and discover what that work might be. Turning inward is where we can begin to make meaning in our lives. It is inside where we meet our deepest longings, our unique gifts, and our truest self. It is inside where we find the twin gifts of purpose and passion that become the core of our working lives.
What three things can you do to bring greater meaning to your work this week? How can you help create more meaningful work in your community?
How can economic developers give leadership to the cultivation of greater meaning and purpose in the workplace?
I would be very interested in your thoughts on these questions.
May your work be filled with meaning and purpose!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Tips for Succeeding through Failure

According to Paul Sloane, the founder of Destination Innovation (, we learn to innovate from failure. Here are some key points to keep in mind in learning from these experiences:

- Recognize and communicate that when you give people freedom to succeed, you give them freedom to fail too.

- Distinguish between two kinds of failure - honorable failure where an honest attempt at something new or different has been tried unsuccessfully and incompetent failure where people fail for lack of effort or competence in standard operations.

- Make sure people know that honorable failures will not be criticized.

- Get people to admit to or even boast about failures they have had where they tried something innovative that did not succeed. Make these into learning experiences.

- In a culture that is very risk averse and keen to apportion blame take the issue head on by rewarding honourable failures. Publicly praise and reward those who have had them.

- The innovative leader encourages a culture of experimentation. You must teach people that each failure is a step along the road to success. To be truly agile, you must give people the freedom to innovate, the freedom to experiment, the freedom to succeed. That means you must give them the freedom to fail too.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Teams and Groups: The Main Differences

The following narrative describing the how teams differ from groups is important information for the economic development leader to know. It comes from the Performance, Learning, Leadership and Knowledge Website, a very good resource for those looking for useful practical advice on leadership issues.

Roles and Responsibilities

Within a group, individuals establish a set of behaviors called roles. These roles set expectations governing relationships. Roles often serve as source of confusion and conflict. While on the other hand, teams have a shared understanding on how to perform their role and perceive the other team members' roles.


While teams have an identity, groups do not. It is almost impossible to establish the sense of cohesion that characterizes a team without this fundamental step. A team has a clear understanding about what constitutes the team's mission and why it is important. They can describe a picture of what the team needs to achieve, and the norms and values that will guide them.


Teams have esprit that shows a sense of bonding and camaraderie. Esprit is the spirit, soul, and state of mind of the team. It is the overall consciousness of the team that a person identifies with and feels a part of. Individuals begin using "we" rather than "me."


Groups have a tendency to get bogged down with trivial issues. Ask yourself, "How much time gets wasted in meetings you attend?" Teams use facilitators to keep the team on the right path.


While members of a group are centered upon themselves, the team is committed to open communication. Team members feel they can state their opinions, thoughts, and feelings without fear. Listening is considered as important as speaking. Differences of opinion is valued and methods of managing conflict are understood. Through honest and caring feedback, members are aware of their strengths and weakness as team members. There is an atmosphere of trust and acceptance and a sense of community.


Most groups are extremely rigid. However, Teams maintain a high level of flexibility, and they perform different task and maintenance functions as needed. The responsibility for team development and leadership is shared. The strengths of each member are identified and used.


Team members are enthusiastic about the work of the team and each person feels pride in being a member of the team. Team spirit is high. To be a successful team, the group must have a strong ability to produce results and a high degree of satisfaction in working with one another.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Nine Dilemmas Leaders Face

According to a 1996 Fortune Magazine article, leaders face nine major dilemmas:

- Broad-based Leadership vs. High-visibility Leaders

  • - Independence vs. Interdependence
    - Long-term vs. Short-term

- Creativity vs. Discipline

-Trust vs. Change

-Bureaucracy Busting vs. Economies of Scale

-People vs. Productivity

-Leadership vs. Capability

-Revenue Growth vs. Cost Containment

I'm sure many of these choices sound familiar to you as economic development leaders. Which are the biggest issues or concerns for you as a leader? Which are most important to your board.

Source: The Nine Dilemmas Leaders Face, Fortune Magazine, March 1996.

Download and informative paper on these nine dilemmas here.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Book Review: Leadership Lessons from West Point, (Editor Major Doug Crandall)

Here is an interesting book review of Leadership Lessons from West Point. Some economic development leaders come from military backgrounds, especially in regions where a strong military presence exists.
Economic development leaders must be prepared to learn from various sources, including useful lessons from West Point.

"The United States Military Academy at West Point holds its cadets to the highest military, academic, physical, and ethical standards. They practice excellence, a tradition that has held unwaveringly for over two hundred years. In Leadership Lessons from West Point, the Leader to Leader Institute and experts from West Point have joined forces to offer valuable advice on real-life leadership issues learned on or around the battlefield and applied to leaders in all settings.

With Leadership Lessons from West Point as a guide, leaders in the business, nonprofit, and government sectors can learn leadership techniques and practices from contributors who are teaching or have taught at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and have served in positions of leadership that span the globe. These military experts cover a broad range of topics that are relevant to any leadership development program in any sector. The contributions in this important resource offer insight into what leadership means to these experts--in both war and peacetime--and describe their views on quiet leadership, mission, values, taking care of people, organizational learning, and leading change.

Leadership Lessons from West Point contains candid reflections, compelling stories, best practices, and frontline ideas that will open a window into the world of leadership development where the values of duty, honor, and country set the standard for professional excellence."

Source: Leader to Leader Institute

Book Table of Contents

A Note from the Leader to Leader Institute, Frances Hesselbein
Foreword, Jim Collins
About the Contributors
Introduction, Doug Crandall

Part One: Leadership and Values Development

[1] "Becoming a Leader Developer," Eric G. Kail
[2] "Learning from Failure," Doug Crandal
[3] "You Must Lead Yourself First," Greg Hastings
[4] "Influencing Your Organization's Moral Philosophy," Brian Tribus
[5] "Developing Organizational Values in Others," Chip Daniels
[6] "The Authentic High-Impact Leader," Sean T. Hannah
[7] "Leader Development and Self-Awareness in the U.S. Army Bench Project," Dennis P. O'Neil, Patrick J. Sweeney, James Ness, Thomas A. Kolditz

Part Two: Leadership Styles and Situations

[8] "Teaming High-Potential Talent," Jack Jefferies
[9] "Leading as If Your Life Depended on It," Thomas A. Kolditz
[10] "Creating Urgency and Inspiring Your Team," Robert Morris;
[11] "Quiet Leadership," Eric J. Weis
[12] "Leading Without Words," Jeff Bergmann
[13] "Developing Charisma with Caution," Dena Braeger
[14] "Trust: The Key to Combat Leadership," Patrick J. Sweeney

Part Three: Leading Organization

[15] "Socialized Leadership," Todd Henshaw
[16] "Leading at the Business End of Policy," James Tuite
[17] "Harnessing the Power of Culture and Diversity for Organizational Performance ," Remi Hajjar, Morten G. Ender
[18] "Developing Organizational Commitment by Putting People First," Todd Woodruff
[19] "Managing Expectations When Leading Change," Everett S. P. Spain

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Value Creation: Economic Development Leaders' New Job

For some time, I have believed that the model of economic development must shift to one that speaks more directly to the issue of value creation relative to local and state economies. Performance metrics have become more important to nearly all ED organizations. ED managers and executives, and board leaders to a degree, are giving greater attention to using performance measurement and monitoring as tools to improve organizational results and area economic outcomes.

Jobs are great. High-paying jobs are even better. Wealth creation is vital. Broad-based prosperity-building has become more important. Tech transfer is important. Technology commercialization is more important. All of you know how this conversation about intended outcomes of the economic development is unfolding.

I propose that one of the future jobs of economic development leaders should be local economic value creation. I think the issue is value creation, and approaching the discussion in these terms will help leaders understand their role in the value creation process.

To bring this issue into sharper focus, please click here to download a presentation I gave to the Connecticut Legislature on this topic five years ago. I would welcome your thoughts on this issue. It is vitally important to the future of economic development.